Google Business Profile Shutting Down Chat: FAQ

When it comes to finding products and services online, Google still reigns supreme as the overwhelming majority of consumers search Google for what they need.  Businesses have long taken advantage of this by optimizing their websites to rank well on the Google search engine results pages (SERPs) and utilizing other features that are free to use such as Google Business Profile.

Google Business Profile (GBP)

Google Business Profile (GBP) is a free business profile offered by Google.  Once businesses claim and take control of their GBP, they can optimize the listing with their business name, a short bio, hours, contact information, address, and more.  These profiles are important because they appear in local search results and in Google Maps, increasing the likelihood of being found by local consumers.

One of the features of GBP that allows consumers to communicate with businesses is the Google Business Profile chat.  With this feature, consumers can chat directly with the business to ask questions, request quotes, book services, and get more information about the products or services they are seeking.  Consumers are also able to call businesses through GBP to get into contact with them.

However, Google recently announced that they will be shutting down Google Business Profile chat and call history features as of July 31, 2024.  This will affect all businesses who use the chat and calls features through GBP to communicate directly with consumers.  It is important for businesses who use the chat to anticipate the end of this feature and to take the right steps to save their chat and call histories.

What is Google Chat?

Google Chat is a live chat feature that allows for direct messaging and group conversations through its own app or through Gmail.  It was originally launched on March 9, 2017 as Hangouts Chat, which was a replacement for the previous Google Hangouts, and it was only available on the Google Workspace software suite. It was rebranded as Google Chat in April 2020 and in April 2021, it became available to anyone with a regular consumer Google account.  In August 2021, Google started phasing out Google Hangouts and migrated the data from Hangouts to Google Chat in 2022.

Making Google Chat available to consumers allowed them to message businesses directly from Google Maps or Google Search.  Consumers can use the messaging feature to request quotes and gain further information about products and services before making a decision.

Google Business Profile Updates

When is Google Business Profile Chat and Call History Being Shut Down?

Google’s plan is to shut down the chat and call history features in GBP on July 31, 2024.  The following is a timeline of important dates regarding the shutdown:

  • Customers will no longer be able to start new chats with businesses starting on July 15, 2024. On this date, those who have existing chats will be notified of the impending shut down of the feature.
  • The chat feature will be disabled entirely on July 31, 2024, and businesses will no longer be able to view their chat or call histories.
  • Businesses can download their chat and call histories until August 30, 2024, through Google Takeout. These histories will no longer be available after this date.

Why is Google Shutting Down Chat and Call Histories from GBP?

The reason for shutting down chat and call histories from GBP has not been stated publicly.  Google did send out emails to businesses informing them that chat and call history features will be shut down on July 31, 2024.  The email also included this statement:

“We acknowledge this may be difficult news – as we continually improve our tools, we occasionally have to make difficult decisions which may impact the businesses and partners we work with.  It’s important to us that Google remains a helpful partner as you manage your business and we remain committed to this mission.”

Google Business Profile Chat and Call History

How Can I Save My Google Chat and Call Histories?

Business can find records of their GBP chat and call histories and download them through Google Takeout.  Keep in mind that you have until August 30, 2024, to download and save your chat and call history as this data will no longer be available past this date.

What Other Features Will Be Shut Down?

Google Business Messages and all chat features, including chat FAQs, will also be shut down on July 31, 2024.

Will Other GBP APIs Be Affected?

The “BUSINESS_CONVERSATIONS” metric within the Performance API will be shut down on July 31, 2024.

Should I Redirect Customers to an Alternative Communication Channel?

If your business takes a lot of quotes and booking requests through Google Chat, it may be best to redirect your customers to an alternative communication channel.  You should determine which alternative channel to use before Google Chat shuts down so you can redirect your customers to this channel through Google Chat.

Do I Need to Update My Google Business Profile?

Consumers will still be able to find your GBP through Google Maps and Google Search and see all the information you include on your GBP such as website links, company bio, pictures, address, business hours, and phone number.  If you have kept your phone number hidden on your GBP because you primarily communicate with customers through the chat, you should add your phone number by July 31, so customers have a way to contact you directly.

Local SEO Services from Proceed Innovative

If your business has been using Google Chat through your GBP to communicate directly with customers and take requests for quotes and bookings, it is important to prepare for the impending shutdown of Google Chat.  Take steps now to find an alternative communication channel to share with your customers and download your chat and call histories before the data is no longer available.

Local SEO Services from Proceed Innovative

For businesses that serve a local customer base, it is crucial to be found in the local search results for the products and services they offer.  Effective management and optimization of your Google Business Profile will increase your visibility in the local search results, including Google Search and Google Maps.  If you are not sure how to form and implement a local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, the SEO experts at Proceed Innovative can help.

Proceed Innovative is a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in local SEO to help our clients improve their rankings and visibility in localized SERPs.  We take a multi-faceted approach to local SEO that includes optimizing your website for the local areas you serve, managing and optimizing your GBP, and submitting your business information to local directories.  Increasing your visibility in the local search results will bring you more leads and business opportunities.

Call Proceed Innovative at (800) 933-2402 or submit a contact form for more information about our local SEO services.



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